Course Description

01:730:109 Introduction to Formal Reasoning and Decision

  • Instructor: Bialek, Max | Deigan, Michael | Felder, Sidney | Laity-D'Agostino, Kelsey
  • Description:

    01 (S. Felder) Fundamentals of logical, probabilistic, and statistical thinking, as well as the basic principles of rational decision-making. Reasoning through data (and rhetoric) encountered on a daily basis using elementary principles of deductive logic and inference.

    02 (M. Deigan) It is often difficult to know what to believe or what to do. Sometimes it helps to formalize our reasoning using mathematical tools. This course introduces the basics of some such tools, primarily decision theory and probability theory. It also provides opportunities to practice applying them to real life issues and to explore some related philosophical questions.

    03 (M. Bialek) Resolving differences of opinion isn't always impossible. Figuring out what you should believe isn't just a matter of checking what's true. Deciding what you should do doesn't have to be left up to your whim. Formal tools have been (and continue to be) developed that enable us to talk very precisely about the strength of arguments and of evidence, the rationality of beliefs we have, and the value of choices we make. This course will introduce students to some of those formal tools—specifically: logic, probability, and decision theory—focusing on their application, but also looking at the limits to their application and their potential for expansion and sophistication. Assessment in the course will based on a mixture of exams, reading/discussion assignments, and quizzes.

    90 (K. Laity-D’Agostino) Fundamentals of logical, probabilistic, and statistical thinking, as well as the basic principles of rational decision-making. Reasoning through data (and rhetoric) encountered on a daily basis using elementary principles of deductive logic and inference.

  • Credits: 3
  • Sample Syllabus
  • Syllabus Disclaimer: The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (e.g. Canvas) on the first day of class.